17 October 2011

Guest post: Self-reliance requires stamina

Recently, Mrs. Freeman offered to do a blog post for me and give me a night off from writing. At the time, I was in the middle of the Prep30 series, so I didn't feel right taking a night off — I wanted to keep the flow of helpful tips going for National Preparedness Month. But, I wanted to use her post, so without further adieu, here it is (with a couple of editorial comments, natch).

I thought I would give my husband a birthday gift by giving him the night off from the blog. So here I am and you're stuck with me, unless you click off this page right now. Yes, Atticus was born "that many" years ago, so he needs his rest. [Editor's note: Well, not that many years ago.]

Now for the serious stuff:

One thing I have learned about preparedness from my husband is that you really need to be in good shape physically. It is hard work doing everything the old-fashioned-from-scratch way. I think the pioneer women (and of course men) had to have been extremely physically fit to endure such hard work.

Atticus recently ground his own wheat to make us bread and although the bread was delicious, it took 2 hours of grinding with a hand grinder. He was out of breath by the time he got 3½ cups worth of flour. Definitely a physical work out! [Editor's note: actually, I ground an extra 3 cups of "waste" flour too in order to clean the new mill. But, she's right... it was a heckuva workout!]

When I think of women churning butter, grinding flour and milking cows all before breakfast, I feel like a wimp for opening up the fridge and pulling out some breakfast food and popping it in the microwave. Sometimes I sweat just doing that!

Think about it: these woman had to collect eggs while feeding the chickens, pick all the herbs and seasonings out in the garden, and carry buckets of milk back from the barn — all in the heat, cold, rain, or whatever else was going on.

Remember, there were often some bad folk around, so she probably had to carry a shotgun with her, with a baby on her hip, and probably another on the way. I think these women were courageous, strong, fearless, and probably had enough stamina to put anyone to shame.

Every time I cook (and I cook almost every night), I try to think about what it was like before electricity in the home, lighting, grocery store on the corner, refrigerators, running water, and a stove that can be turned on instantly. These woman had to cut wood if need be, or at least carry what they needed into the house and start a fire on their own, not to mention picking up that huge cast iron pot to hang over the heat, filled with the “soup” of the day.

Sometimes I am amazed that I am even standing here. If it weren’t for those brave pioneer women, I probably wouldn’t be. I think we all need to work on physical fitness and strengthening our bodies in case we are faced with similar circumstances. Eat simply, get healthy, and use your body as much as you can, so you will be prepared if you need to work hard.

Happy Birthday Atticus!

 [Thanks, honey!]  


  1. Definitely... need to improve my aerobic fitness. Fortunately, the grain mill provides a good workout! :)

  2. This is a good post, and its something that I have thought about often. IMHO we live in this "Modern Civilization" contrary to how we were designed to live and contrary to the earth itself, living like the pioneers or the American Indians you would not see many fat people or have a need to go to the gym as your daily living "chores" would be your fitness program so to speak.

  3. Thanks very much!. My wife and I agree with you on the "pioneer fitness program." We've often wondered what people from 150 years ago would think about our civilization; we save all kinds of time with modern conveniences, then have to spend more time exercising instead. Seems silly, sometimes.